Indiana Hoosiers v. Wisconsin Badgers: senior night.

Wisconsin Badgers
Current record: 22-6 (12-4)
Current RPI: 13 (IU is #174)
Current Sagarin: 8 (IU is #97)
Current Pomeroy: 8 (IU is #70)
2009-10 record: 23-7 (13-5), lost to Cornell in second round of NCAA Tournament
2009-10 RPI: 21
2009-10 Sagarin: 14
2009-10 Pomeroy: 9
Series: IU leads 94-62
Last IU win: 1/31/2007 (71-66 in Bloomington)

Last Wisconsin win: 1/20/11 (69-60)
Last Wisconsin win in Bloomington: 2/25/10 (78-46)
Pomeroy scouting report
TV: 9 pm Thursday, ESPN

Blog: Bucky's Fifth Quarter

IU faces Wisconsin in the Hoosiers' final home game of the season tonight.  The Badgers hold the longest current winning streak of any Big Ten team against IU.  Wisconsin has won 7 in a row against IU, and the Hoosiers' last win was in 2007, a home win against the second-ranked Badgers.  Wisconsin is the only Big Ten team that IU has not defeated in the last four years.  That is a dramatic turnaround for a series in which IU won every game between 1980 and 1997. 

 

All that said, IU played reasonably well in the 69-60 loss at the Kohl Center in January.  The Hoosiers led for nearly all of the first half and for the first five minutes of the second half, and kept the game close until Wisconsin free throws accounted for the final margin. 

Here is what I said about the first game:

The main storyline of the game is that it seemed that every time IU had the momentum, either Jordan Taylor or Jon Leuer hit a big shot that quelled an IU rally or brought the Badgers back within striking distance.   Taylor finished with 28 points on 9-15/3-6/7-7.  Leuer added 20. As one of the commenters in a previous thread pointed out, IU allowed 5 and-ones last night.  I suppose the response to that is the idea that if we are going to foul, we need to FOUL.   On the other hand, I mentioned in the preview that Wisconsin presented a physical mismatch in some respects, and those three point plays probably were a function of that in some degree.

There are some encouraging signs coming from this game.  IU was more aggressive on offense, scored pretty effectively against a very good defense, turned the ball over only 7 times (12.5 percent in a 56 possession game, second best percentage of the season), and played better against Wisconsin than in any game against the Badgers since 2008.

As always, the Badgers are formidable both physically and in their mistake-free style of play.  Wisconsin is second-to-last in Division I in possessions per game, and now leads the nation in lowest offensive turnover percentage (13.5).  The Badgers are excellent on the defensive boards as well.  Jon Leuer and Jordan Taylor continue to carry most of the scoring burden for Wisconsin, and Leuer, as a big man who can and does shoot three pointers, presents a particularly challenging defensive matchup for IU.  In the game in Madison, strong guard play, particularly from Jordan Hulls and Verdell Jones III carried the day, while Christian Watford struggled, as he often does against physical teams.  Hulls has played much better at home this season, and hopefully he can find a way to rediscover his shot as IU tries to match its 2009-10 Big Ten win total. 

I don't have great hopes for tonight, but I do not think the upset is out of the question.  After tonight, IU faces a quick turnaround, playing at Illinois at noon on Saturday, and then it is Big Ten Tournament time.

 

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